Monday, July 21, 2008

Mid-Summer Middling Gardening

I got no bragging rights this year. My garden is doing terribly.
I don't know if it's because Northern California has been shrouded in weeks of smoky air, but apart from a couple of cherry tomatoes and the ever-reliable squash and zucchini — zilch. Well, no, wait. We've harvested some cucumbers. And a jalapeño or two.
The eggplant might be a dud. The two artichoke plants died in the front yard.
Oh, I just remembered we pulled out some yummy potatoes, so it's not total lameness. There was a little mâche, until it succumbed to sunburn. And we're still eating onions planted last fall.
But, even so!
One whole tomato plant turned yellow and bit the dust completely. Another has (and this is late July!!) only two small greenlings in evidence.
Even the zucchini have been plagued by slugs and some odd blossom-end shriveling.
Ah, but the good old crook-neck squash.
Quite a beauty.


Anita (Married... with dinner) said...

well, on the positive side, at least you're taking gorgeous photos :D

dancingmorganmouse said...

That is indeed a beautiful photograph. My beetroot crop FAILED - I pulled up what looked like wee cat turds attached to leaves - I couldn't believe it after all the love and attention.
You know, Mr Brown has build little sail shades for some of the more delicate crops in the summer - a few sticks and some shadecloth angled to stop the afternoon sun.

Sweet Bird said...

I applaud your crookneck squash. I envisioned monstrous heirloom tomatoes bearing hundreds of tasty fruits for myself...alas I had no idea how much fog rolled in where I am, coupled with the smoke I've got like 9 tomatoes and only one ripening. And I think it might be rotting on the vine.

Friggin' blight.

Chilebrown said...

We will share our harvest of tomato's with you.

kudzu said...

What a year. I am relieved I didn't work up the gumption to do the little garden: I would have thought it was all MY fault instead of heat and smoke and the weirdness of the world this summer. That is a pretty squashlet, though, and something to be treasured.

praveenboss said...

good work ... great goin... visit mine...link1

Anna Haight said...

My tomatoes are doing fine, but only one ripe so far. The lettuce seems to have rocketed up and is turning to seed, but I got some good leaves for a time.

Mary Coleman said...

At least you can grow some squash. It's refusing to grow at all in our yard. But like Anita said, your pictures are gorgeous.

nia said...

I live in N. CA. and also get the strange end rot on summer squash. I've read it is usually from a shortage of calcium. It can be corrected largely by more water (which makes the uptake of calcium easier for plants) which irks me but seems to work.

Zoomie said...

Wow, I posted about the same disappointment today. Glad I'm not the only one - misery does, indeed, love company. Lovely photo, though!

peter said...

Mine's doing OK, but much worse than I wanted since I've been away so much. It's frustrating.

cookiecrumb said...

Anita: I was working with a rather photogenic specimen. (Did you recognize that it's sitting on a Heath plate? Thought not.)

Morgan: Sorry about your crappy crop. And thanks for the "sail shades" suggestion; we usually just lug around a plastic patio chair and prop it in front of the garden bed.

Sweet Bird: You go to war with the crookneck you have! I take consolation in mine.
(Are you in SLO?)

ChileBrown: You are too kind, sir!

Kudzu: Not even the pear tree is inundating us. Yet.
(Thanks for blaming my failure on anything but me... that's my style, too. I blame W.)

Anna: It's just amazing you are having luck on your balcony. Congratulations.

Mary Coleman: Oh, sad. This is my first time with yellow squash; beginner's luck, maybe?

Nia: Just like blossom end rot on tomatoes, eh? And the same remedy: calcium? Well, thank you!! I learned something.

Zoomie: What's funny is that you and I expressed our frustration at the same time. Isn't this supposed to the the height of the season? Boo hoo.

Peter: I feel bad for you. Can you hire local kids to tend the plants when you're away? (And, did you see the Kim Severson story in today's NYT?)

Rev. Biggles said...

What's the ph of yer soil? Got your beneficial nematodes going?

I mowed my flax garden and laid down compost. It looks like I'm starting a garden, but I'm not. It's a stunt garden.

xo, Biggles

cookiecrumb said...

Biggles: I don't know the answers to those questions. But the darn garden worked just fine last summer. I even rotated crops this year.
What stunts will your garden do?

el said...

I'm with Kudzu in that you cannot take a bad harvest personally, especially if you've had an unusual weather year. But I'm also with Biggles in that compost is a garden's best friend.

That photo makes me think of Renaissance and Baroque Italian still lifes: they usually featured a squash or two.

Rev. Biggles said...

It's a great stunt garden!

It looks ambitious, both from guest's point of view, plus my neighbors think I'm up to something. Cute women think I'm all green thumby and are impressed with my vegetable side!

When I walk out to my stunt garden, it makes me feel like I did something positive. Remember how great it made you feel after you freshly tilled your field? Yeah, just like that.

It's a feel-good garden.


Catherine said...

outstanding photo! bravo!

Kit Kat said...

I feel for you! I'm experiencing a garden issue myself -- VT has been plagued by rain since May and we have only had about a week of sunshine (cumulative, not consecutive!). I'm sorry to hear about your garden! Keep your head up and think about how great your garden will be next season.

jen maiser said...

I think we should blame the weather. Least that's what I would do. :)

cookiecrumb said...

Biggles: You're using your garden like some men use puppies.

Catherine: I'm still learning... sigh. Steep learning curve. Thanks very much.

Kit Kat: Well, I am sorry for you, too. :(
Thanks for the kind words.
I wonder if I oughta fertilize? (yes)

Jen: Even when the sky looks blue, it's still smoky. I can smell it. And it's been a whole month. Sad world.

GoGreen said...

This is the first year I've tried to grow my tomatoes in containers. I had a small harvest in mid June of about 10 delicious Early Girls. Since then it has been like they are living, but not growing. I wasn't sure if it was related to the soil in the containers, moisture or heating of the roots. From the sound of previous posts here it looks like the season is to blame.
Can't say enough about composting. We rotate our small piles and frequently change their location in the yard. During the past 3 years our soil has changed from high PH hard soil to a nice balanced soil rich with organics.
(Digging in the Dirt, Peter Gabriel)

cookiecrumb said...

Go Green: Yes, I'm letting go of my frustration and just watching it develop.
We've just started our second compost pile, and I'm amazed how well it works! Eee! Thanks for the vote of confidence.
Down to Earth, Peter Gabriel (from WALL-E)